Hostage 'Took Risk To Deliver Aid'
15 September 2014, 06:26
A British hostage threatened by Islamic State militants in the David Haines beheading video has been identified as a "passionate'' former taxi driver who "took that extra risk'' to deliver aid.
Alan Henning was named as the man shown in the footage of Mr Haines's murder, with a threat that he would be the next to be killed.
He is a 47-year-old former cab driver from the Manchester area.
Mr Henning has helped on at least two convoys into Syria, where humanitarian volunteers drive supplies across the Turkish border into the war-torn country.
He helped load supplies into ambulances that were to be driven to Syria to help refugees.
His friend Mohamed Elhaddad, company director of the UK Arabic Society, tonight spoke of Mr Henning's determination to help others.
Mr Elhaddad, British convoy leader, described the hostage as a passionate humanitarian volunteer, but said he insisted on going a long way into Syria to deliver aid.
Mr Elhaddad said: "I remember going on two convoys with him, at the end of 2012 and in May 2013, and he was always very positive and very interested in the work.
"I have met his family and his children. The first time we went together he was very excited and very emotional. He does a lot for others.
"He is good at DIY and he was a useful person to have on the trips.
"But Alan went too far into Syria. He took that extra risk, because he could have accomplished the drop-off at the border.
"I disagree completely with what is happening to him. Alan is my friend, this is extremely sad for him and his family. It is a very sad situation.''
Catrin Nye, from the BBC Asian Network, said she met Mr Henning while he was packing aid convoys in Salford.
She said: "I found out he had been on a previous convoy and was planning to go again.''
She said he was known as "Gadget'' because of a fondness for technology and described him as a "very likeable'' and "funny'' man.
Questioned about why he was getting involved in the work, he said he had been "inspired'' by friends who had been to Syria, Ms Nye said.
She told BBC News: "He had travelled on a convoy, he had been into a refugee camp ... and it had been a life-changing experience.
"He had handed out the goods. He described holding the children ... and how that really affected him. He told me he had to go back.''